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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 25 July, 2014

Premier League previews: Who will win today’s games and why

If, like Aerosmith, you don’t wanna miss a thing, you’ll want to check out the schedule for today’s Premier League action.

All games kick off at 3pm unless stated otherwise.

QPR v Tottenham (12.45)

TV: Sky Sports 2

Betting: QPR 10/3 Draw 5/2 Tottenham 17/20

QPR have the chance to jump off the bottom of the Premier League table when they host Tottenham in today’s lunchtime kick-off.

Harry Redknapp’s men enter the clash with just 13 points in the league, but could jump above Reading and into 19th with a positive result against their London rival.

It was 2-1 to Tottenham when the two sides met at White Hart Lane back in September, with an own goal from Alejandro Damian Faurlin and a strike from Jermain Defoe cancelling out Bobby Zamora’s first-half effort for QPR. But that match was played before Redknapp joined QPR and the west London club have improved considerably since the arrival of the veteran manager.

It has been a different story for high-flying Tottenham, who currently sit in third place and haven’t lost in the league since 9 December.

Spurs have won their past three matches, scoring nine goals in the process and conceding just two. One of the main reasons for their recent good run of form has been the outstanding play of Welsh international Gareth Bale, who
scored a hat-trick in Tottenham’s 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa on St Stephen’s Day and now has nine league goals this campaign.

Verdict: Tottenham

Aston Villa v Southampton

Betting: Aston Villa 7/5 Draw 9/4 Southampton 2/1

Aston Villa will be looking for an immediate response to their League Cup defeat at Bradford City when they host Southampton.

Paul Lambert’s side are in a horrid run of form, having won just two of their past nine matches in all competitions. Of those two wins, one came against Championship outfit Ipswich Town in the FA Cup but Villa did not fare as well against lower league opposition on Tuesday.

They now boast the league’s worst defence having conceded 41 goals in 21 matches, and a 4-1 win for Southampton when the sides met earlier in the season is sure to give the visitors confidence.

Nigel Adkins’ side haven’t won in their last five matches and sit just above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Verdict: Draw

Everton v Swansea

Betting: Everton 8/13 Draw 14/5 Swansea 9/2

Goodison Park plays host to one of the best match-ups of the Premier League weekend as Everton face Swansea.

The Toffees are up to fifth in the table having lost just one of their past nine matches, a run which includes wins over Tottenham, West Ham, Newcastle and Wigan as well as draws against champions Manchester City and Arsenal.

And when their brutal 5-1 dismantling of League Two side Cheltenham in the FA Cup on Monday is also taken into account, Everton head into their meeting with the Welsh outfit brimming with confidence.

But Swansea, who are ninth in the Premier League, are also enjoying a purple patch of form which has seen them put together a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.Their most recent result, an upset 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final, was the pick of the bunch.

The Swans will be keen to buck their dismal record against Everton which has seen them fail to beat the Toffees in any of their seven previous meetings dating back to 1981. In fact, the best result Swansea have ever achieved against Everton was a 2-2 draw in 1983 with the other six encounters all ending in losses.

Verdict: Everton

Fulham v Wigan

Betting: Fulham evs Draw 12/5 Wigan 11/4

Fulham snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory away to QPR in their last Premier League outing but they were forced into an FA Cup replay with Blackpool after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with the Championship side last weekend.

Martin Jol’s men are sitting in 13th place on 21 points and will be hoping for a win that will move them closer to the top 10 and further from trouble.

Wigan, meanwhile, are in relegation trouble with just one win from their last eight Premier League games — a 3-0 triumph over Aston Villa on 29 December. A 1-1 draw with League One outfit Bournemouth last weekend in the FA Cup will not help their confidence in what is proving to be a difficult season for Roberto Martinez’s side.

The two side’s last met in September with Fulham running out 2-1 winners at the DW Stadium after goals from Hugo Rodallega and Damien Duff were enough to see off Wigan, who scored in the dying minutes thanks to Arouna Kone.

Verdict: Wigan

Norwich v Newcastle

Betting: Norwich 5/4 Draw 9/4 Newcastle 9/4

Norwich will aim to halt a run of four Premier League defeats when they host Newcastle at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Alan Pardew’s men have suffered seven successive defeats away from St James’ Park and the Magpies’ faithful are beginning to forget what an away win is.

Their last win on the road in any competition came last season when Papiss Cisse’s double strike sealed a 2-0 win at Chelsea.

Pardew hopes to hand new signing Mathieu Debuchy his debut but injuries to James Perch and Steven Taylor mean they are almost certain to miss out.

Norwich skipper Grant Holt is likely to be restored to the starting line-up if he can shrug off the hamstring injury that restricted him over the Christmas period.

Verdict: Draw

Reading v West Brom

Betting: Reading 15/8 Draw 9/4 West Brom 6/4

Struggling Reading will be desperate for three points when they play host to West Brom. Brian McDermott’s side have won only twice in the league this season, their second a vital 1-0 home win against West Ham on 29 December.

Second from bottom with 13 points, Reading tackle a West Brom side that have lost their past two Premier League matches and were held to a 1-1 draw by Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on Sunday.

One striker looking forward to the clash will be Romelu Lukaku who has scored seven goals this season as the Baggies, currently seventh, have pushed up the table to become serious challengers for a European place.

The Belgian international is on a season-long loan deal with West Brom from Chelsea. He was subject to a January recall clause, but that option expired on Monday, which means Lukaku will stay at The Hawthorns.

Verdict: West Brom

Stoke v Chelsea

Betting: Stoke 3/1 Draw 12/5 Chelsea 19/20

Chelsea will be aiming to stay in touch with the automatic Champions League qualifying spots when they visit Stoke.

But the Blues find themselves in the middle of a form slump and their task of claiming victory at Britannia Stadium will not be an easy one given Stoke have not lost at their home ground in 10 Premier League outings this season.

Chelsea are just one point off third-placed Tottenham with a game in hand but they have not had much to write home about since the beginning of the year. On 2 January, they suffered the humiliation of losing to bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in front of their home fans at Stamford Bridge.

And while they rebounded with vigour three days later to thump Southampton 5-1 in their third-round FA Cup tie, Chelsea came crashing back to earth on Wednesday when they stumbled again at home to Swansea 2-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final.

However, Stoke have not been in the greatest form either since their 3-1 victory over Liverpool on St Stephen’s Day.They drew 3-3 with lowly Southampton on December 29, got brushed aside 3-0 by Manchester City on New Year’s Day and had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Championship outfit Crystal Palace in their third-round FA Cup clash on Saturday.

History is also against Stoke in their pursuit of the three points against Chelsea, given they have not beaten the Blues in 37 years in all competitions — although they forced draws with Chelsea both last season and in 2010/11.

Verdict: Draw

Sunderland v West Ham

Betting: Sunderland 13/10 Draw 11/5 West Ham 11/5

Sunderland host West Ham at the Stadium of Light as they look to move further away from the relegation zone.

Martin O’Neill’s side sit in 14th place on the Premier League table, four points clear of the bottom three, and go into today’s game with the knowledge a win will go a long way in their quest for survival.

They will be desperate to turn around their disappointing home form which has seen them win just three of their past 14 Premier League games at the Stadium of Light, especially as they come up against a West Ham side who have won only two of their last 15 on the road in the league.

The Hammers bounced back from a shock loss to lowly Reading with an impressive 2-1 win over Norwich before enduring a heartbreaking 2-2 draw in the FA Cup against Manchester United on Saturday, with Robin Van Persie scoring in the dying minutes to force a replay.

West Ham are 11th in the table, and victory for the East London side could potentially put them into the top 10 as their first season back in the Premier League since 2010/11 continues to go positively.

Verdict: West Ham

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